Bluejay wrestlers win some impressive matches against Iowa Lakes
In their first action of the 2021 college wrestling season, the Minnesota West Bluejays performed in nine matches against Iowa Lakes Community College Wednesday night in Worthington, and though not every match counted in the official scoring, the Jays came away with six wins and three losses.
WORTHINGTON -- In their first action of the 2021 college wrestling season, the Minnesota West Bluejays performed in nine matches against Iowa Lakes Community College Wednesday night in Worthington, and though not every match counted in the official scoring, the Jays came away with six wins and three losses.
It was a fine start for a team that looks to fill most of its weight classes this year for dual meets. What was clear on Wednesday is that the Bluejays mean business.
Damon Ashworth, a state high school champion from Excelsior Springs, Mo., in his junior year, who lost in the state finals in overtime as a senior to a three-time state champ, was the first Jay to hit the mat against the Lakers, and he dominated his opponent Dontario Norwood at 165 pounds, 11-1. After the dual match, won by Iowa Lakes 36-16, was over, Ashworth wrestled an exhibition match against Cael Langford, winning that one 10-5.
“We’ve been working pretty hard,” Ashworth said. “Even before we started official practices. We like to work hard, and (head coach Randy) Baker, he likes to coach hard. It’s a pretty good fit.”
The freshman Ashworth chose Minnesota West, in part, because he wants to become an electrician. And there’s a good electrical program in Jackson, where he attends classes. One of his teammates, 141-pounder Jacob Vogel, chose West for its agriculture program. He said he could have wrestled at a four-year college, but he wants to take over the family farm one day and West will help him do that.
Vogel also won twice on Wednesday, and both wins were by fall. He pinned Tyrick Clay in 6:36 in the match that counted, then pinned Tarvin Arnold later.
Vogel runs three miles every morning, so he’s never going to believe he’s not in better shape than his opponents.
“Third period’s kind of my period. I’m a long-distance runner,” he said.
He basically had Clay pinned as the first period ended, and the referee actually slapped the mat to indicate the bout was finished. But after a discussion with the scorer’s table, it was decided that time had elapsed a half-second before the slap.
Vogel, a freshman from Dell Rapids, S.D., who placed fourth in his high school state meet as a sophomore, fourth as a junior, and first as a senior, said he’s always working for the fall.
“I like to get that first takedown, and I like to ride ‘em hard. Get that wrist control, and turn ‘em over any way possible,” he said.
Minnesota West had several open weight classes on Wednesday -- most of them which may be filled soon as the Jays achieve their optimum strength. But another Jay who won a dual meet was Ethan Higgins, who pinned Iowa Lakes’ Nolan Johnson in 1:14 at 125 pounds. The Lakers won two duals, at 133 pounds where Brendon Lovelace decisioned West’s Ayden Reinhardt 6-5 and at 149 where Jonathan Ramirez decisioned Kyler Grems 19-13.
Baker thinks he’s going to like what he’s got this year.
“All these guys are freshmen. They battled. They dominated some matches, actually,” he pointed out.
Higgins, who hails from Wabash, Indiana, says there’s no quit in this team.
‘Everybody works hard,” he said. “We push each other. It’s a good environment to be in.”